Bumblebee's lack of character

Discussion in 'Transformers Robots In Disguise / Prime Discussion' started by Duskscream, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Duskscream

    Duskscream Well-Known Member

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    I rewatched Prime and noticed Bumblebee is a pretty bad character.

    He has no development.
    Almost no character.
    He is the only Autobot with no decepticon rival.
    His human counterpart is uniquely useful more times than him.

    I don't understand the point of making him unable to speak if everyone on the show can understand him, except Miko and Jack.
    Even Smokescreen can understand him, why does a young warrior class understand random bleeps?
    It would make sense if it was presented as a disability and only Prime could understand him. That would lead to development, plus subtitles so the audience can understand him.

    At the end he becomes important by killing Megatron but there is absolutely zero lead up to this. Smokescreen who had been around only 5 minutes, would have still made more sense. Though neither of them deserved it.
    It was either Prime or Arcee who should have had the kill. Arcee for being the most developed character who has suffered the most under the decepticons, or Prime because Megatron is his rival.

    It's like they got a mandate from Hasbro to suddenly make Bumblee important because they wanted to make a sequel where Bumlebee is the star, cause you know all the kids love Bumblebee.

    I love Prime as a show but Bumblebee was not handled well.
     
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  2. GirlBot

    GirlBot Mini-Cassette

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    It's due to lazy writing. Prime shares a lot of resemblance with Bayformers, so in some cases they decided to skip some details and left it for the movies to fill in the blanks like Autobots working with human military (it was never explained in the show).

    A lot of core characters on Autobot side lack development. Bumblebee isn't the only one. Bulkhead and Arcee do not fare much better. A curious thing is all those characters have a human companion, and even curiouser is that all those human characters experience character development and appear more important to the story than their Autobot friends. All the available dialogue between character happens to be human-Autobot. Can you recall any meaningful interaction between Bumblebee and Bulkhead? Or Arcee and Bulkhead? Bumblebee and Arcee. In the meantime we had a time to have an episode of Jack trying to get the girl using Bumblebee, saving Optimus, not to mention a bunch of kids taking over Nemesis where the Wreckers failed. Compare the level of chemistry between the Decepticon team to the Autobot one. Prime humans are considered ones of the better written, but I feel that a lot of that was achieved by sacrificing the Autobots' character development and importance to the story. It's no wonder that people liked the Decepticons better and when asked (on this forum) who is their favorite Autobot the answer was Knock Out.
     
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  3. Slingshot

    Slingshot Headmaster

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    No one in Prime, including the Decepticons, had any character or character development. The entire cast was a group of poorly written and bland Cybertronians and humans.
    Plus, a human child being able to understand Bumblebee's form of communication was some of the worst writing in a TF series.
     
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  4. Gayformers

    Gayformers writes bad fanfiction

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    Hold on, he does have a rival. In a way.
    At least the game treats Knock Out as being his rival, but the game is completely unreliable as it apparently doesn't follow canon, so lol
     
  5. Duskscream

    Duskscream Well-Known Member

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    Hm I don't agree with all of that.

    Arcee has plenty of character, she is loner type, sassy, somewhat protective, short tempered, proud, speaks her mind, resistant to change. She makes an effort to help others with their problems due to her own experiences.
    Arcee becomes less closed off gradually toward everyone, especially Jack. There is a nice moment with Wheeljack where it's a role reversal and she is the talkative one trying to help out Wheeljack's relationship with Bulkhead. She grows to more accepting of change and caring partially due to Smokescreen. Initially hating him, she realises he means well and accepts him into the wider family. Arcee was not in fully in agreement with Optimus's decision to destroy the Omega lock, told through her tone of voice, but when the 2nd one is built it is her who asks if they should destroy it if it will save Earth. Showing she has learnt to be more selfless.
    She never finalised her main arc with either Starscream or Arachnid, so that is poor closure, but in general she is a great character.

    Bulkhead has things going on, I usually feel nothing toward the "strong guy" character but as far as that type goes he is cool. He is selfless and very caring, especially of his close friends, Wheeljack/Miko.
    He goes through a horrible injury, which I think was actually mostly wasted for development but shows how much being a warrior means to him. I really like his backstory and how he has grown from that point.

    There was lack of banter between them but I didn't really mind.
    The set up for the characters didn't allow much banter.
    Arcee and Prime aren't the banter types. Bumblebee has no character.

    That leaves Bulkhead and Ratchet, who do have banter in the show.

    I will give you lack of meaninfull development between the main cast, most of it comes from the humans and the new Autobot members Wheeljack/Smokescreen/Ultra Magnus.
    But I don't mind as long the development gets there in the end.

    I don't see the humans being more useful than the Autobots, nor having more development.

    Miko was genuinely useful exactly once in the whole series. (kills Hardshell)
    She has good development, mainly learning that revenge is not the answer. She also goes through the most emotions as a partner. She is a really good character, but she does not get more attention than the autobot cast.

    Raf was useful far more times because of his silly hacking skills.
    But they used this less and less as the series went on. Not much development to speak of.

    Jack, apart from caved in episode, the Cybertron thing, which anyone could have done, and the final arc where they all help. He really does not do much of note.
    Not much development either.

    As for other Autobots
    Smokescreen is the typical kid, rash with a good heart. Standard stuff but he gets plenty of screen time for his late introduction, learns to be less rash and more of a team player.
    Ratchet is a great, very quirky medic, easy to make these characters boring or just turn them into warrior/medics but they made him so unique and different. He learns to trust the humans and to not lose hope.
    Ultra Magnus was OK and would have improved if the series went on.
     
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  6. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    Knock Out is meant to be his rival. Not in a "we have a history!" sense (like Airachnid & Arcee), but in the sense that they square off a lot and their alt modes are similar enough that they can do the "road race" thing. (I have a TFP coffee table book that says Hasbro's only original mandate for Knock Out "was that he be a foil for Bumblebee.")

    I think the difficulty with Bumblebee was the obvious one: he didn't speak. Which makes it hard to give him an in-depth character. I still liked him, but it's not like he was ever going to get a meaningful line. (That said, I actually liked him LESS after he got his voice back at the end of the series / in Predacons Rising. He really started to annoy me at that point.)
     
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  7. YellowCorvette

    YellowCorvette It's Joke!!

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    I won't say that Prime Bumblebee is something like the worst character ever, but Bumblebee is indeed a incredibly dull character in Prime. All of his "radio talk" crap also annoys me in the entire running time in the show.

    I really glad that Bumblebee finally can able to talk in RID2015, and actually has something going on with his character in that show.
     
  8. GirlBot

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    Good analysis, but it did kind of prove my point. I was talking about the lack of meaningful relationships between the core cast of Bumblebee/Arcee/Bulkhead which in my opinion stunted the character development. In your write down you did not bring up anything on that front. When I'm talking about character development I mean some moments in the show that cause the character to change their way. While the characters might have changed, I don't remember any moments that would cause that change.

    As you mentioned in the first post, there's not much going on for Bumblebee and I think that Bulkhead is in the same boat.

    It's good that you noted the impact the new Autobots made on the team, which once again confirms my thoughts on human companions and their Autobot guardians and how those relationships took away from Autobot-Autobot interactions. Inclusion of Smokescreen inserted a much needed interactions between the Autobots: as you've noted he had an impact on Arcee, but I will also add how he supported Bulkhead after his injury (none of the core Autobot cast did that). The same thing can be said about Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus. A lot of examples you brought up covers just that.

    As for human impact on the story... there's Raf with his brilliant computer skills that appear to be equal to Soundwave, or how he's the one to come up with most technological solutions to Autobot problems. How every time there was Arcee and Arachnid duel it is Jack who saves the day, how it's Miko who avenges Bulkhead, how Jack is the one to retrieve the key (why didn't they pick an Autobot to do that), how the kids are capable of defeating Soundwave when no one else can. How it's Jack who has to make the right call about whether they should bury Megatron in the cave. How it's Raf who notices that something is wrong with Bumblebee, but his Autobot family doesn't. How the Autobots need human help to steal the Energon Extractor from the museum. How the Autobots need to rely on kids to save them from scraplets. How it's important to know about Jack's home life, love life and work, the kids schoolwork, Miko's favourite band, but nothing on what the Autobots do outside the battle (even Knock Out has a hobby and we know what Megatron dreams are made of!). And so on. I understand that Bay movies need to put humans in the front to bolster their general appeal, but I expect a different standard from a Transformers cartoon.

    I'm an Autobot fan, so I was a little bummed up with the show that kind of dropped the ball on that front, especially when it comes to the mainstays of the show.
     
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  9. Applejacktimus

    Applejacktimus Likes Alpha Bravo

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    He was pretty much there just because the movie version is popular and they needed a posterboy to go with Optimus.

    Smokescreen is basically what Bumble should have been the whole time. Brash, immature, reckless, bonds with the main human, etc. Then when Smokescreen starts to get his own character when he's presented with the Matrix, the writers just said "No, we're stepping out of our comfort zone. Make everything exactly how it was before and undo all of those interesting developments." They apparently realized that they forgot to put actual effort into Bumble as a character and gave him a short arc where he gets his voice back - while of course pretending that the beeps somehow hindered his communication. Then in Predacons Rising, they go "fuck Smokescreen" and hand his 'rising into leadership role' arc to Bumble when they could have instead fixed Smokescreen's arc by filling Bumble's role with him since they were getting rid of Optimus... again.

    So yes, he wasn't exactly a great character in Prime. And although RID doesn't quite fix all of his flaws, I do think it's redeemed him since he's kinda endearing there while TFP Bumble is forgettable enough to... well, forget.

    When the show was originally airing, I noticed that he was occasionally surprisingly violent and almost full of anger. I thought they were gonna go through with some sort of character arc with that, but this was unfortunately not the case.
     
  10. Mr JackatooTM

    Mr JackatooTM I'm a Colossal boi

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    He's there to bring more attention to the show because the kids love Bumblebee. That's it.
     
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  11. Gronkh

    Gronkh an Earthling

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    Yeah, Bee just stands there in the background. Nothing more
     
  12. Awesomepow

    Awesomepow Well-Known Member

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    Okay,

    1)Bumblebee does have a lack of character,but that's also because he couldn't speak.When he could I feel like he had more plot.
    2)Raf could never be better than Bumblebee.

    TFP Bumblebee is under plotted,and RID Bumblebee is over plottted.We can't get a good one...
     
  13. jackgaughan

    jackgaughan Interner Soldier

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    They could've easily gave Bumblebee character despite his inability to speak English (cause remember he could still speak, it was binary, and all the other Autobots understood him....)
    What they should've done is use those big bushy eyebrows to good use and gave him a mouth, get real expressive with the facial and body language of him. Have be the COMPLETELY silent and partner him up with Miko, have some sort of "Oh I can't communicate with the others due to language barriers" type thing.

    Cause there is a bit in the Darkness Rising mini, after Bulkhead goes "sorry traffic..." Bumblebee is hunched over, out of breath and jerks his head up, and it's the best animation in the show*, for how good it is, and how funny it is, and they should've leaned into that.

    *I liked the animation in the show, I'm just making a slight goof.
     
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  14. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    I think Bumblebee was a dull character purely because he couldn't speak in a show that loved to talk. A lot of characters could only express their arcs and personalities in monologues and exposition, so being unable to do that for Bumblebee I feel the show creators felt incapable of developing him into a multidimensional character.
     
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  15. DOTM Bumblebee

    DOTM Bumblebee I must be some kind of nut...

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    I feel compelled to disagree. Bumblebee's inability to speak didn't make him undeveloped. He simply got a lot less focus compared to characters like Arcee, Bulkhead, etc. However, I don't think he lacked character. We got an idea of his character through his actions and through how others spoke of him. In "Masters and Students", Bumblebee demonstrates his impulsiveness through his rushing into the fight with Skyquake. We see this again when he rushes through the Ground Bridge alone after Megatron in the beginning of "Operation: Bumblebee Part 1". We can assume that, while part of it is inexperience and youthfulness, as Optimus points out in "Masters and Students", a good part of it is also courage, as Bumblebee is the only Autobot willing to venture into Megatron's head in the episode "Sick Mind". It's shown time and time again that he feels frustration and insecurity about his broken voice box, and the experience of losing it at the hands of Megatron hurt him personally. This frustration with his disabilities fuels his character in the "Operation: Bumblebee" two-parter, and we see this aspect of Bumblebee's character raise its head again when Smokescreen brings up his shattered voice box, and again when he slays Megatron in "Deadlock". Bumblebee is also fairly nice, friendly, and a good listener, as he arguably forms a connection with his human friend the quickest, and Raf describes him as the only one who truly listens to him by the point of midway through Season 1.

    I won't pretend he's the most developed character in Transformers: Prime, but I won't pretend he doesn't have a character, either. Bumblebee in Transformers: Prime can still be described as an impulsive and headstrong Autobot, who, despite a generally kind and friendly nature, has an underlying insecurity about his broken voice box, and can grow frustrated when others make light of it (or, in Megatron's case, are responsible for it).
     
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  16. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    I think it would have helped if they'd given him more variance in his bleep-boops. Like in Operation Bumblebee there's a part where Bumblebee is stressed out and ticked off. He storms past Ratchet and beeps something at him that, from the context of the conversation and Ratchet's reaction, must have been a dig at Ratchet like "Oh yeah, you couldn't fix my voice box but I'm SO SURE I can trust you to fix my t-cog."

    That's a good character moment. That's Bumblebee getting so upset at having yet another part of his body destroyed that he lashes out at a dear friend. BUT . . . they used the same beep-boops as they would have for any other scene. It really lessened the impact. :/

    The funny thing is that totally-silent Soundwave doesn't have this characterization problem. Man, they did such a good job with him. I wonder if it's because Soundwave gets a lot of one-on-one scenes? Like Soundwave fighting with Wheeljack. Soundwave facing off against Starscream and Knock Out as they try to convince him to take Megatron off life support. Soundwave challenging Airachnid. Whereas Bumblebee is more often just "part of the Autobot ensemble." The best moments with him were, IMO, in Operation Bumblebee, where the focus was on him for once.

    Like the part where Knock Out taunts him for his inability to Transform and Bumblebee go-carts after him in an old truck. That showed a bot who was reckless, a bit prideful, and wanting to prove himself. Consider that scene versus the "New York subway" episode, where he's just sort of there. Like, he's fine in that episode. But he's just . . . there.
     
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  17. daniel 97

    daniel 97 Autobots' second in command

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    You're out of your mind...look at him in RID, if that's not a character development than I don't know what is.
     
  18. YellowCorvette

    YellowCorvette It's Joke!!

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    The OP is talking about Bumblebee in the Prime tv series, not in RID2015.
     
  19. daniel 97

    daniel 97 Autobots' second in command

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    It's one big continuity, they both take place in the same universe!
     

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